Shopping and Fun – Smokey Mountain Style

We will be spending the next several days in and around Pigeon Forge goofing off and being tourists.  The heat and humidity are high, so air conditioning is at a premium.  My lovely GPS is taking us around the back roads and byways so we are getting to see more of the rural lifestyle as well as test out the rental car’s steering and braking capacity.


The first order of the day was, of course, shopping.  I was quite impressed by the shops we stopped at.  This is the tourist capital of the south so I was expecting overwhelming amounts of new stuff.  The shops we went to, however, were primarily vintage with a really good selection.  Primitive, modern, cheap, expensive, classy and tacky were all represented.  We managed to buy enough to fill a box this time, but nothing really outstanding.  My favorite item of the day is this Horse Breyer Ding Co.  I have seen many misspellings of Breyer over the years, but it is a challenge to misspell ‘molding’.


We did one outdoor flea market – I don’t know how those vendors can handle it int the heat and humidity!  It was mostly made in China junk, but there were a few vintage vendors.  Most disappointing was that the vintage stuff was all outside under the shade of a few roofing overhangs.  Not much to buy, but the inadvertent juxtapositions could be hilarious.  Elvis being attacked by a dinosaur could really describe much of this area in general.


After a quick lunch and a top-secret meeting, we were on to some true tourism.  Goats!!! On The Roof!!!  Is a multi-enjoyment business where you can feed goats, buy souvenirs, pan for gemstones, eat shave-ice and ride an amazingly fun gravity coaster down the mountainside.  Whoever came up with this idea was crazy-good.  The place had a constant parade of people through, and everyone had to do several of the activities available.  We had so much fun we rode the coaster twice!  We also found some can’t leave behind souvenirs (great prices) and enjoyed the porch swing and shave ice relaxation.


I had a very hard time picking a picture for this activity.  I have read many so-bad-its-good reviews of the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride, and being a fan of kitschy stuff it sounded right up my alley.  Well, it may have fallen from grace of late, because evidently they no longer have enough money to light the gol-dang dinosaurs!  We spent at least 90% of the ride in complete darkness.  I understand the need for low, dramatic lighting to hide some of the ticky-tacky cost-cutting measures, but this was beyond the ridiculous in poor showmanship.  I was ready for a hilarious bad time, and just ended up bored.  Unless they can replace some light bulbs, I advise skipping on to the next tourist trap.


To end on a brighter note, two thumbs up to the Pottery and Christmas Super Outlet Store!  I loved their signage to attract attention and bring people in (Dolls!!! Knives!!!).  They had an amazing back room with new-old stock plastic serving pieces from the 1980s with the eye-searing color combinations of pink, teal and purple with deco alligators, sunglasses and suits with shoulder pads galore!  Dinner at Shoney’s (of course) and back to the room to prepare for another fun-filled day tomorrow!  See you later, alligator!


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Breyerfest 2017 – in the air and on the road

This is a year we fly to Breyerfest which makes things much different.  I had to pack everything for sale in luggage, which made for difficult space constraints.  For an added level of difficulty we are not staying at the Clarion!  No room selling, just room buying for me.


We flew in a few days early and are doing the touristy thing in Tennessee.  First night was in Nashville and we had dinner at a fun place called the Aquarium.  Spent the whole meal watching fish swim around.  It was amazing how interesting watching a large tank of fish can be.  Our favorite was the Moray Eel who spent the whole time alternating hiding and peeing out of his den.


On to shopping!  We did quite a few antique stores and malls in the Nashville area.  This was one of my favorite – a My Pet Monster and a Pink Panther in the middle of a very nice antique booth.  This mall was behind and above a Staples store and had the biggest variety of stuff I have seen in a long time.  New and old, cheap and expensive, it was also a maze to navigate and I still don’t know if we found all of the booths.


This was one of my favorite finds.  If we hadn’t been flying I likely would have caved and bought it.  I think it combines cute, style and eccentricity in the best possible way.  I so enjoy stumbling upon the unique and interesting.  It seems in each booth there is something else fun and different to see.  This is why I love shopping at antique stores, you never know what you will find.

akhalteke book

This was my favorite find of the day.  Last stop, an out-of-the-way bookstore, mostly random romance novels – and this!  The book has so many beautiful Akhal Teke pictures, it will be hours of eye-candy to look through.  We bought quite a few things, but mostly small stuff.  A pair of shoes (pink and red vinyl high-heels), an vintage in box set of Christmas boot candles, a 70s knitting bag, an enamel bowl with a fish design.  Just random things that caught our attention.

Well, the next few days will be more touristy, but I will keep posting, so check back daily for updates!

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The Car is Full

It is only Wednesday and we just filled our last empty box.  From now on items bought will be squirreled away in whatever spot I can find, and hope we can find them again when unpacking the car.  True story: I bought a small Hartland sheep for a friend years ago when we drove a Mercury Grand Marquis (talk about space issues) and I actually lost it for YEARS.  Found it up under the passenger seat when giving the car a deep cleaning.


I think this was the most interesting choice for a discount I have seen.  Is the dealer hoping to get a laugh from customers?  Are they a mathematician and testing our skills?  Are they anti-superstitious?  It made me look a bit closer to find something to buy so I could tell the story later.  I wasn’t successful, so I took a picture!


This store has everything AND the kitchen sink!  You can blow things up and then repair or replace them.  We bought a fun cat lamp, and the place was much larger than it looked when you drove up.  The sign is true, I think they may have even had home decor tools!  They had connected 4-5 buildings so it went on, and on, and on…


This booth was 75% off!  You can be sure I closely inspected as much of the booth as possible.  I got down on hands and knees to see under tables and in the back of the bottom shelf.  Unfortunately for the dealer we are on our way home, so many things we might otherwise have bought stayed here.  I think we only picked 3 things from the booth after all that investigation.


This was on the second floor of an antique mall we used to make sure not to miss.  Many dealers have moved on, so there isn’t as much left, but I do like to check out the place.  It is an old Elks lodge with amazing room detailing and small nooks and crannies where they used to have meetings and ceremonies.  This pipe organ was restored by a local person in their garage!  I read the article about it, but didn’t notice if it was for sale – wouldn’t fit in the car, you know!


This was my (very) small selection of purchases for the day.  The HR harry has great detail and is quite early with white patch on his throat.  Three of the postcards are from the Kellogg Arabian Horse Center.  The book is illustrated by the great Sam Savitt.  Astute followers will look at the Western Horse saddle and be curious to see what it goes to.  Sorry I left the best purchase of the day in the car – a Breyer Western Horse beside the clock!  Just the saddle made it into the photo shoot.

IMG_1932Finally, mom’s purchases – small but select.  The airplanes are tin wall hangings and very popular.  The rooster on the left is Maddux, a California Pottery.  There is a Boyd yellow glass Indian toothpick holder, and Anchor Hocking Cowboy and Indian mug, a Thermo-Serv CB radio mug and Holt Howard Santa salt and pepper shakers.  The best find is a Gene Pressler print “I’m Just Lonesome” from 1933.  He was an artist and Illustrator from 1910 to 1930-ish who did amazing advertising art.  I was quite pleased to find something from this era, the colors and composition are beautiful.

Only 3 shopping days left – and lots of driving!  I likely wont post tomorrow night as we stay with family and wont have internet access.  See you Friday, with more fabulous finds!

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Westward Ho!

I am glad to be back in the Midwest again.  It is still hot and muggy, but I just prefer the open rolling hills over the dense, tree covered acreage of the eastern US.  Off topic, but why is there a Midwest, but no Mideast?  It was a thoroughly average day, 7 antique malls, 2 states and only one box of buys for the booth.  With no amazing finds or unique views I will share a slice of an average day shopping for us.


I liked the humor of this booth owner.  They had many different items for sale, and their sign suited their merchandise perfectly.  One thing I love about antiquing is you never know what you may find.  Dolls with funnels on their heads, candy molds used as wall art or what.


Talk about juxtapositions.  A common, undesirable Breyer in a locked case with expensive porcelain and crystal.  I don’t know if this dealer only has this showcase to put items for sale, or has a unique sense of humor.  I think the price tag on the horse is more valuable than he is and the dealer certainly spent more time lettering and tying that tag than the horse will bring.


This booth was amazing.  It was actually two spaces, including the booth to the right of where I took this picture.  All the walls were covered in these plastic and metal decorative plaques.  I have never seen this many in once place.  There were a ton of really rare plaques, from cowboys to cars, cheerleaders to colonial minutemen.  I could have spent an hour looking over all the neat decorations.


Another dealer with a sense of humor.  To think up, design, and get this banner made was a lot of time and effort!  So often booths blur together when you see so many hundred a day, so when one stands out I take the time to look more closely at their wares.


I love it when a mall takes time to stand out in some way.  Again, we may go to over a hundred malls and shops on this trip, and over the years (and the later in the trip it gets) we forget stuff.  We only have a limited amount of time in a day to shop and a large number of shops to choose from.  If we can remember something – like that mall with the great old car driven by a skeleton – it makes it more likely that we will stop by.


Finally, our finds for the day.  I think mom did the best with the fall dolls on the right.  They are all unique and well made, they will catch your attention as part of a fall display later this year in our booth.  I also like the starburst tray.  Hot August Nights begins soon after we arrive home, so the more ’50s stuff we have the better.  The bracelets are faux amber,but attractive and chunky, so they will find a home quickly.  Nothing wonderful, just some good stuff to stock the booth.

With the miracles of modern technology we can keep up with our sales as we go.  We are making money, but I don’t know how much room we will have to stock when we get home as the small stuff seems to be selling best.  Yesterday we sold a ton of postcards, the day before it was jewelry, and before that it was comic books.  Hope some larger items move soon so we can put out our new finds!

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Lions and Brahmas and Ponies

Oh my!  I have so many titles for this post.  “I love Missouri”, “Wowzers” and “Best Day Ever” top the list.  Aside from mom having the con-crud and the continued heat and humidity it was a wonderful antiquing day.  Before getting to the good stuff I will show a few helpful hints on what not to do when selling or shopping.


I loved this log cabin set up, but the dealer wanted to sell everything together, including about half again as much behind the cabin, for one price.  There were some nice figurines in the deal, but I think it will be quite a long time before they can find someone to take everything on this table.  It is a nice idea to keep everything together, but from the mish-mash of ages and styles I don’t thing everything started out together to worry about completeness.


Next we have an example of how not to display items for sale.  There were more horses underneath the pile in the suitcase.  Each horse was $12-$40, and if you want that kind of money, display them in a way that does not damage the merchandise!  Sheesh, it may have seemed like a clever concept, but do it with something that doesn’t scratch and break!


This display of chairs made me wonder who the dealer thought was going to buy them.  Chairs are practical items, and none of these were display-worthy Chippendale.  If I am interested in buying a chair I want to sit in it to see how sturdy it is.  I wouldn’t even bother finding someone to take one down to try out as there was so much stuff in front it would take major rearranging to get to them.


Finally we have a how not to shop moment – don’t walk by very common items without taking a closer look.  Years ago I started forcing myself to slow down and study or pick up every horse shaped object I saw.  I have found wonderful things like nightlights and chalkies that aren’t apparent in a walk-by of a booth.  In this case the innocent looking Misty is actually a glossy 4-eye Misty!


Hope you were sitting down before scrolling to this picture.  Yep, I had a VERY good day.  You can see in the picture why collectors call this version the 4-eye Misty.  Only the very early models have the white circle around the left eye.  The Brahma is not only glossy, he is CHALKY!!!  I pulled a picker maneuver, saw the HR Mountain Lion in a showcase, glanced at the HR German Shepherd and offered the dealer a bundle price.  He took it and I did the happy dance.  Both are mint and the dog has wonderful early eye and face detailing.  I am also happy about the Mold-a-Rama Brookfield Zoo lion and elephant as I don’t often find these inexpensively and in good condition.  The Christmas ornament is very desirable with the shooting stars and planets.  Oh, and there is a Beswick, Small World CWP, leopard appaloosa Western Prancer, and a very nice parrot hanging planter in there as well.  A very good day indeed!


On to mom’s purchases.  I am very happy, and think our finds from today are my favorite of the trip if not the last few years.  The vintage pantyhose in original box is very popular.  The toy drum with Indian graphics is in great condition and very cool.  The Faygo cans have such great art, one with skier and one western theme, with pull tabs and pure retro goodness.  The fish plates are always popular, and sell very quickly.  In the middle are three “Bar Hounds”, so very cute and in great condition.  The blue kitten plate is Westmoreland Glass.  There are car glasses, an oil can, toy car on original card, Artesania Rinconada cat, Southwest Airlines puzzle – just an amazing day of finds.

On to Kansas tomorrow, hope our picking luck keeps up!

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Last day and back on the road

Awww, I can’t believe Sunday is here already.  We were up until midnight chatting and shopping then up early to pack the car.  No luggage carts, of course, so I hand-carried all the boxes, bags, luggage, and etc. to the car in the heat.  I did get to do a few fun things, however!


I obviously need to improve my photography skills, but this was my favorite of the winners of the diorama contest.  They took Mini Whinnies and turned them into a table-soccer setup!  Sooo cute!


I also attended the Hollywood Horses presentation.  It was fascinating, the author was very knowledgeable and interesting.  I have the book but haven’t had time to read it yet.  Now I totally want to get home and peruse it!  I want to find this movie with Roy Rogers and Trigger to watch, it sounds like a hoot and a half!


My final foray into the Horse Park for 2016!  Crowds were much lighter, but the heat was just as oppressive.  I really like their year signs with the celebration model silhouette.  My first was 1993 – with Grayingham Lucky Lad.  Makes me feel like an old-timer telling stories from back in the day.


THIS is why I tell everyone my #1 tip to survive Breyerfest is DON’T stand in line to pick up your celebration model!  They make enough for everyone and there are enough lines to stand in for the weekend.  Take a look when you walk by and if there is a line, keep on walking.  There are stacks of boxes still in the booth at 2 PM on Sunday!


I couldn’t resist another pretty horse picture.  I didn’t get to see any performances this year but did enjoy one walk around the stables.  The Friesians are always crowd pleasers with their shiny black coat and luxuriant mane and tail.


Final view of the Horse Park :(…  It says 98 degrees but with the humidity I think it felt like 110!  This was a cool new sign that changed with brief advertisements.  I saw a picture of the ad for Breyerfest 2017 but did not see it myself.

I am so glad we got to drive to Kentucky this year.  The sad news is that my room at the hotel is being destroyed this year to make way for a breakfast area (?!?).  I get to call the manager next week and see what they can do for me, but I sure will miss being the room in the lobby.  We saw so many first-timers who were so excited to be there.  I enjoyed being the information desk, handing out maps and answering questions.  I don’t know what I will be doing next year, but this was a great year for fun and friends!

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Catching up with Breyerfest

It has been a whirlwind of a week!  Very little internet connectivity at the hotel + barely enough time to catch a nap = delayed postings.  Things are finally winding down and I am taking advantage of slower room sales to catch up.


First thing after arriving and unpacking it was time to lay in supplies.  Frozen dinners, fruit to snack on and ice to make iced tea were imperative.  Wish we would have found this place first to say we shopped at the Ice Cow!


We haven’t been downtown in a few years so it was fun to drive around a bit and take pictures.  The first year we visited we got out and explored this park, it is full of bronze sculptures.  The life size Thoroughbred race is amazing to walk around, how they keep those huge sculptures stable on those tiny legs is a marvel.


Finally – exploring the hotel!  Many rooms have custom decorations and mascots, this one was my favorite.  Creative  and attention getting is the hallmark of a good sign.


Next we have my favorite poster.  There were a bunch of good candidates this year, but googly-eye Alborozo won my heart.  How can you not laugh and make a mental note to find that room and congratulate the creator?


We didn’t spend a lot of time at the horsepark this year – the heat was oppressive.  I taught two classes and picked up my horses and took a few pictures.  As beautiful as the models are, the live horses are even better!  You could get whiplash looking at all the great horses at the park.  Took a ton of pictures, this one was my favorite – I owned an Arabian horse in the past and have done that braid job before and it takes a ton of time and patience to pull off.  This guy wears it well.


Finally I will share a secret with my loyal readers.  This stand is one of the most popular in the park.  I could drink a gallon of the lemonade a day.  The two white tent tops are actually one vendor selling both funnel cakes and lemonade.  The line on the left is almost twice as long as the line on the right because many people look at the signs and think that is what each line is selling.  It can be hard to use deductive reasoning in the heat and humidity, but I used the right line each time and got my lemonade much quicker!

I am off to peruse what rooms are left open for some bargain shopping!


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